The Third World Group is a national voluntary non-governmental and not for profit organization based in Malta that is committed towards Third World issues and people who live in "depressed" areas in Malta and abroad. In 1997, the Government of Malta awarded the Third World Group the first prize in the second edition of the prize known as “National Recognition: Youth in Society”
The group came together in 1974, by a number of students who where inspired by Mother Theresa’s speech at the University during her visit to our country. Mother Theresa’s way of thinking was highly influential in forming the values of the first few members of the group. After her speech these students approached Mother Theresa and asked her what they should do to in order to act against the injustices she had talked about. She aptly replied that her Sisters of Charity had just founded a children’s and old peoples’ home in Palermo and needed volunteers to help them in their daily activities.
The experience in Palermo was just the beginning. Since then the Third World Group helped teams of volunteers to go and work within homes run by the Sister’s of Charity all over the world. Besides Palermo the group organized summer camps in Reggio-Calabria (Italy) where they worked with gypsies, London (England), Cairo, Alexandria and Moquattam (Egypt), and recently Jimma and Alamatta (Ethiopia).
In the summer campaigns of the 1980s the group used to send up to six teams, with fifteen to twenty volunteers in each team, in different localities.
During all these experience the volunteers worked with the Sisters of Mother Theresa to help emarginated people. But while in Italy, England and Egypt the group worked mainly with those children coming from families with social problems, in Ethiopia the volunteers worked mostly with the sick and those hospitalized in the Sisters’ homes.
Inspired by their experience in the Group, many members of the Third World Group have done voluntary work in many parts of the world on their own personal initiative, in countries like Peru, India, Brazil, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Albania, Uganda, and Guatemala.
During the first years the group worked with the poor abroad through these summer experiences, however after a few years, the group started to look at Malta and what can be done here. The idea behind their work was the presence within the community. Thus they picked places where there was a high concentration of social problems and where no group was yet present to help the emarginated.
Throughout the years the group worked in areas notorious for sub-standard housing, illiteracy and even lack of basic material necessities. These are common problems which the members of the Third World Group have to deal with throughout their weekly contacts with people from this area.
Volunteers visit families in order to get to know them better and know there needs. In certain occasions the group has also done manual work in homes of these people such as cleaning and painting the houses. The group also helps children from this area in their academic studies by, for example helping them in their homework. In the past all this was done predominantly on a weekly basis.
Since two years ago we work with children twice a week. We organize games, crafts, recreational activities and educational classes for children as part of a literacy project. Besides working with the children we also kept visiting their families and other marginalized people regularly.
Ours, however, is not a social work organization. Our role is not to substitute professionals working in the field of social work, counseling and psychology but to be with the people and, often, to help them find the professional need they may need.
Another aspect of the Third World Group's commitment towards the emarginated members of society in general is “conscienceization”, i.e. trying to raise people’s conscience about social issues we work in. We try to make people aware of the hardships people face in poorer regions of the world and even in modern day, prosperous Malta, by initiating awareness activities and giving people who are not members of the Group the opportunity to do voluntary work in communities (rather than work groups) in Malta and abroad.
This is also done during our Friday evening meetings at Sarria. For these meetings, a gathering of active and supportive volunteers, we invite people who live and work in similar backgrounds to give talks about what they encounter in their daily life in Malta and abroad to help us understand these situations better.
Nevertheless none of this has anything to do with being charitable; we feel that we all have a lot to give and to learn from each other.
Recently we have updated the group's logo to reflect the group's principals
- Sense of community
- Direct work with the poor
With the logo's simplicity, we would like to show the way of life that the volunteers believe in and try to live.
The "W" in the middle is formed using an abstract of two people, and it is a representation of the comunity which the group works in. While the colours used are intended to communicate the last two principals: The green, as is described in "The voice of Colour", is a symbol of life, development and harmony. The orange is a colour that encourages emotion and recognises the development of the respect of the individual. It is used as a symbol for the beliefs of the group that this liberation and encouragement are the first paces to help a person escape from the vicious cycle of poverty.